Wednesday, 6 November 2019

MPOV: When Beauty Tamed the Beast (Fairy Tales #2)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.06/5
First published: January 25, 2011
Author: Eloisa James
Genre: historical romance, regency romance

Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she's betrothed to a Beast.

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.

Linnet is not just any woman.

She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.

Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.

If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?

The above taken from Goodreads.

Apparently this is based on the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Of course with Eloisa James own spin of the fairy tale which I've truly enjoyed! This is my first read from this author and I was delighted it has kept me engaged from the start until the end! I liked how she has spent the first few chapters introducing the heroine and hero of this book. Slowly but surely it ploughed into the deep current and had them at scarlet fever!

A true beauty with an ill tempered beast! Such combination made a darn good romance novel! Of course, we would have anticipated the "Happy Ever After" ending but it's the plot that derives it made the difference. Such angst and fervour leading to that moment which had me glued to every pages so that I can quickly reached the ending! LOL! It truly was an entertaining read from the start to the end, looking forward to other Eloisa James books!

Here are some notable quotes:
Zenobia shook her head. "That's just the kind of remark that got you in this situation, Linnet. I've told you time and again, all that cleverness does you no good. People would like a lady to be beautiful, but they expect her to be ladylike, in short: sweet, compliant, and refined."

"I love you," he said, his voice catching. "When I thought you were going to die, I wanted to die."

New words in my book:
Fussocking - fat and hard to handle
Taradiddle - a fib, fabrication or pretentious nonsense
Irascibility - marked by hot temper and easily provoked temper
Ameliorating - to make better or more tolerable

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Crochet: Boo! Happy Halloween!

This is my recent creation, just in time for Halloween! It was inspired by Jack Skellington, a character in the movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Are they scary enough? They seemed tame to me lah LOL!

I've crochet a Jack Skellington head with key ring and 2 bookmarks. What I've used:

  • acrylic yarn
  • styro-foam beads
If you are interested to learn crochet, you can give me a buzz or visit my Facebook page as listed on the right hand side of the blog. Crochet is a relaxing and therapeutic hobby once you get the hang of it :-)

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Happy Deepavali!

Image Googled
A very Happy Deepavali to all who are celebrating this auspicious day of lights! Safe travels and happy holidays!

Saturday, 26 October 2019

MPOV: Dream Stuff

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.25/5
First published: September 2014
Author: Chuah Guat Eng
Genre: Short stories, Asian literature

This book consisted of 12 short stories written between year 1992 to 2014. It's a mixture of characters and plots of all kinds but mostly based locally in Malaysia. From family related to singular ideal to space travel, some way back then yet some is current, so relatable and easily imaginable.

Overall, I've enjoyed all 12 stories. I do not have a particular favourite but I do have one which I liked the least and it happens to be the only science fiction namely Memoirs of an Aranean Harpist. I just couldn't grasped it and practically flipped over the pages more!

I liked how each story unfolds, how the author wrote and plot it overall. It was written fluidly with easy understanding yet with dramatic effects! Oh yes, some was kinda thriller and had me scared stiff! Definitely an easy read and can be finished in a day or two lah!

Below are some notable quotes:
The Stuff of Dreams
"Ya, so bad luck, picking up other people's rubbish first thing in the morning" said Sis-in-law.
"Precisely," I said, "bad feng shui."

Forbidden Fruits
"Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Poor Cousins
"He said we owe that family nothing, because we were only children whereas Uncle Pak and Aunty Poh  were adults and knew what they were doing."

A new word:
Her own mistress
Daguerreotypes - a photograph taken by an early photographic process employing an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapour

Thursday, 24 October 2019

MPOV: The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.89/5
First published: September 1963
Author: Yukio Mishima
Translator: John Nathan
Genre: Philosophical fiction, classics, Asian literature

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea tells the tale of a band of savage thirteen-year-old boys who reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call "objectivity." When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealize the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard their disappointment in him as an act of betrayal on his part, and react violently.

The above taken from Goodreads.

There are 2 parts in this short novel. At first it's about a widow, Fusako, and her 13 year old son, Noboru. Fusako manages a well to do boutique after her husband passed away and takes care of the family overall. After 5 years of being a widow, she finally met a sailor, Ryuji, whom she really likes and started dating him. Noboru is an intelligent boy and is part of a secret gang in school. This group of boys liked to go to a secret hideout to discuss their code of ethics. Unfortunately, they are quite incongruous with their livelihood and think of themselves as the honourable ones which led to unwanted killings to prove themselves worthy. So in part 2, it took on a more sinister turn after Ryuji proposed to Fusako........

When I first started the book, I find that it was written poetically fluid. Of course, this has been translated but thankfully it was not lost in translation. In fact, I've enjoyed the prose though I did not like the plots. After reading some reviews, I realised the reason for this gory plots. Yukio has his own incongruous thoughts and agenda. I think he was a little suicidal too as at the end, though he died in a supposedly honourable way, he had planned everything until the way he would die. Hence I do think that this novel was somewhat a reflection of his thoughts.

I have never felt so convulsive after reading a fiction. It sure does feel as though it was real, it had happened before, even though it could only be Yukio's imagination. Here, I've listed down some appalling moments that I totally could not comprehend so SPOILER ALERT!!!

.
.
.

I was somewhat appalled that a 13 year old who had accidentally found a peephole to his mother's room would continuously peeped on his mother! He saw everything from his mother's nakedness to her having sex with her lover! He even happily reported it to his secret gang on all the details!

When Noboru was asked to kill a kitten during a secret meeting with his gang, I did not think it would continue gruesomely. In fact, it had been detailed how they dissected and inspected the dead kitten's internal organs! EEW!!!

Ryuji was being diplomatic here but Noboru was so ungrateful and felt otherwise
When Noboru called for an emergency meeting with his gang after his mother told him of her impending marriage with Ryuji, I totally did not expect them to actually planned on how to lure, drug and kill Ryuji! At this point, I was so shocked beyond words! They could even tabled the law that they are beyond 14 years old so they will not be prosecuted for the killing! I rest my case here.
Their planning.........
.
.
.

Overall, it's a good read if you can stomach those evil plots. Twisted dark minds of 13 years olds, what more can I say. It could be the start of a bunch of serial killers! Definitely not for the faint hearted. I sure felt scarred for life LOL!
Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff.

Monday, 21 October 2019

MPOV: The Edible Woman

My rating: 2/5
Goodreads rating: 3.68/5
First published: 1969
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: feminism, fiction

Marian is determined to be ordinary. She lays her head gently on the shoulder of her serious fiancé and quietly awaits marriage. But she didn't count on an inner rebellion that would rock her stable routine, and her digestion. Marriage a la mode, Marian discovers, is something she literally can't stomach... The Edible Woman is a funny, engaging novel about emotional cannibalism, men and women, and the desire to be consumed.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Marian is ordinary. Her roommate, Ainsley, is rebellious. Marian does everything by the book, what was expected of her by her boyfriend, Peter, and her family. Ainsley, on the other hand, drinks, smokes and party to glory. One day, Peter proposed and Marian happily accepted it. However, everything becomes a blur after that as Marian started losing appetite and interest in her life. Ainsley, instead, has decided to get pregnant and raise the baby on her own.

All in all, with some jests here and there, this was supposed to be a gripping yet funny feminist novel. No doubt it's well written with good pacing and plots but I was just not into it. No matter how much I've tried to read it, dramatically or not, I just couldn't grasped the story in it. Instead I got more confused especially how Marian decided to break the engagement off with Peter. Perhaps I shall re-read it again in the future when the time is right.

I am truly surprised though that this book was actually Atwood's first novel and it's written in 1969. Such feminist plots were not the norm then but so relatable now and current. It felt like Atwood could see the future and knew how the world would evolved into. Things like having babies out of wedlock and having sex in a hotel for unmarried couples were considered illegal then. Not forgetting women were expected to be housewives after marriage was the norm. I was definitely blown away with those facts but still couldn't get into the groove of the story LOL!

Anyway, I've only read Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale so was hoping this book would enlightened and also entertained me. Well, I was wrong and not sure if I should get The Testaments, her new novel which is a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. The reviews online have been promising so will see how......

Friday, 18 October 2019

Nyc Nat Nook 1st anniversary!

Time flies and it's been a year since we launched Nyc Nat Nook! From offline to online, with many pop-up market appearances and still looking for our niche, we have survived the many ups and downs thus far. We are still learning, hoping for that right Midas touch or move to guide Nyc Nat Nook to the right uphill path!

Aside from Handmade Hadiah's, Accessories for Ladies & Mobile Phones and Books for rent & sale, we currently have various Workshops for the Young Adults such as:
  • Mosaic art
  • Wood art
With mixed media medium, you can create your own artistry! All these are available during pop-up markets or if you are shy, you can purchase directly from us via online @ https://nycnatnook.easy.co.

Since it's our 1st anniversary, from this month onward while stock last, we have launched "Craft4Charity". We have received a bulk of Giraffe Mosaic Kits for this purpose. At a very affordable price of RM15 each where proceed of RM10 from each kit will be pooled and donated to an orphanage. We have yet to identify the orphanage but it will be announced in November. So if you are interested to donate and contribute, kindly email us @ nycnatnook@gmail.com for more info!
From Mosaic Art Online
P/S: Thank you to Mosaic Art Online for generously sponsoring this bulk of Mosaic Kits!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

MPOV: Cry, the Beloved Country

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.89/5
First published: February 1, 1948
Author: Alan Paton
Genre: Historical literature, political fiction, classic

Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

The eminent literary critic Lewis Gannett wrote, “We have had many novels from statesmen and reformers, almost all bad; many novels from poets, almost all thin. In Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country the statesman, the poet and the novelist meet in a unique harmony.”

Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.

The above taken from Goodreads.

This novel has been divided into 3 parts aka books.

Book 1 is about a Zulu pastor trying to look for his son. Upon receiving news of his sister in jeopardy in Johannesburg, he took the opportunity to also hunt for his missing son. His travel, aside from some mishap, was miraculously smooth with many who helped him unselfishly. It took him a while to finally find his son but in a very sad situation. His son was in prison, accused of murder of a white man. His sorrow took a positive turn at times whilst being helped by many.

Book 2 is about a rich white man losing his son and how the family tried to recover from this unfortunate loss. His son was shot at point blank by a native boy in his house in Johannesburg. Also, both the pastor and the white man are neighbours in the town they lived in, Ndotsheni. Hence a chance awkward encounter between the Zulu pastor and this white man was inevitable, a son of one who has shot the son of the other. Not forgetting the many court proceedings with a sad sentence for one and a happy sentence for the other.

How both of them fare after the sentencing at their respective home was entailed in Book 3. With the additional nephew and pregnant daughter in law in tow, the pastor and his wife had difficulty living through day by day knowing that their son will be hanged soon. Not long after, it seemed like a blessing in disguise with many good happenings in the village like milk for the hungry babies, building of a dam and even rebuilding of the church!

I remembered this book being one of Tun Dr. Mahathir's favourite hence I was curious when I finally got my hands on it. So upon reading it, now I know why..........

This novel was written in a 'sing song' yet ancient prose which was at times hard to digest especially of it's old writing. However, overall, it was gripping yet enthralling from one incident to another which made it hard to put it down. The tragedy of the unwanted murder that took place made a memorable impact, I can totally feel the anguish and sorrow of both parents.

Alan Paton has written flourishly with much empathy and I could truly imagined the fleeting scenes realistically. Though it was written aeons ago, it is definitely relatable as such divided castes, judgemental humans still exist in our current so called civilised world. Being brought up in such environment, it was not easy to diminish such unwarranted thoughts hence this book has enlightened me more.

Apparently this was made into a movie but I've not watched it. This novel also triggered my thought of another similar novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I do find that Cry, the Beloved Country a much better read and much more surreal overall. It's depth and nature of the story felt more realistic, as though the author had experienced it all first hand and writing his own memoir, so to speak.

Ending this review with a notable quote:

“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that's the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.”

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